I feel that the two main themes in La Jetee are fate and love. The story line of the movie is very interesting, as is starts when the main character was a child, and witnessed a murder that happened at the airport. The scene of the murder and the face of a woman constantly appear in his memories. These scenes confuse him, since he does not understand why he keeps remembering these images, and sometimes he feels that these scenes may be products of his imagination, or a reoccurring dream from his childhood. Despite these memories, he grows up and becomes a prisoner after World War Three. Some surviving scientists then use him as a guinea pig to test the time travel experience.
During the experiments, they send him back to the time of peace where he meets the girl of his dreams. He then walks with her, chats with her, laughs with her and he trusts her without any reason not to. He soon comes to know that he is in love with her. The scientists then realize that he has successfully traveled through time and they send him to the future to get help. The main character was able to successfully accomplish his mission in the future- the people in the future invite him to stay in the future with them. However, he refuses to stay and asks them to send him back time to be with the girl he loves. In the end of the story, the main character sees the girl he loves in the airport, where he went a child. As he is running towards her, one of the scientists appears and kills him. As he dies, he realizes that his memory about a man that was murdered in front of him when he was a kid was real, and he is the man. It was his own death that he had seen so many times as a child.
The director used an interesting view to show the fate of a person. The man’s memory from the past connected with the men’s death in the future. This really makes one think about how the present connect with the future, and how they may affect each other. The director also characterized love in the movie, especially in the ways the man gave up his chance to be peaceful in the future to go back in time to stay with the girl he loves. The photos of the man and the girl are also crucial. Compared to other photo’s in the movie, the photos of these two characters were often brighter, more peaceful, clam and cheerful. The photo of the sleeping girl was especially remarkable, as those pictures had a really soft atmosphere and the girl in the photo looked gorgeous. Those pictures are what make people understand why the main character is in love with the girl, and how happy they are when they together. Those pictures of the two characters really displayed their love to each other and thus showed how love can brighten the world.
The entire movie was made by a series of stationary images. The director often used photos with different perspectives to show audience the background and the environment. The director also used close range photos to show characters in the story, their actions, their moods, as well as the physical and psychological changes. Although films are often referred to as “photos with movement”, in this movie, there is more use of the photos themselves. Under the director’s shoot, composition, and editing, the loss of the movement in the movie did not affect viewer’s understanding of this movie. In the other hand, the stillness of the image provided the viewer a novel, fresh, and special way to encounter the story. Without any bright color, the black and white in the images showed strong contrast, which can easily present an impressive strange world to the audience. The scientists, future humans, and prisoners’ faces were often affected by strong shades in the images. The strong light and dark contrast on the faces expressed this extraordinary hopelessly depressed feeling. Viewers can easily feel the selfishness, helplessness or indifference from the photos of these characters.
The black and white contrast also added cruel, dark, and mysterious emotions to the movie. However, the director also used the black and white images to create this harmonious feeling with soft lighting, especially the picture of the female character. The images of her sleeping so clam, combined with the soft lighting made her look extremely mysterious. Also, the black and white close up photos made her beauty stand out even more. The black and white color displayed her prominent her dark hair and dark colored stunning eyes against her light skin. Audiences can easily understand her beauty through these gorgeous pictures. Furthermore, the different lighting in different black and white pictures showed strong emotional changes, and the stillness of the photos let the audience have more time to understand the emotion and atmosphere of story in the movie. All the images in the movies are taken from great and unique angles with thoughtful composition; I feel I can learn so many about photography by viewing these photos.